Carrie Rengers

Tulsa firm buys Alefs Harley-Davidson, renames business

Tulsa businessman Dale Rhoads purchased Alefs Harley-Davidson on Monday afternoon, a business he says he’s wanted to own since first seeing it in late 2010.
Tulsa businessman Dale Rhoads purchased Alefs Harley-Davidson on Monday afternoon, a business he says he’s wanted to own since first seeing it in late 2010. Courtesy photo

Tulsa-based Defcon Powersports closed on its purchase of Alefs Harley-Davidson on Monday afternoon for an undisclosed amount.

“It’s No. 4 in our company now,” says owner Dale Rhoads.

He’s renaming the business Twister City Harley-Davidson.

“We kind of seem to be in Tornado Alley here, so it seemed kind of fitting.”

He says he first approached Dan Alefs and Paula Feist Alefs in late 2010 about buying the Park City business, which Rhoads says is in a “beautiful facility.”

“It’s always been on the radar for me,” he says.

Feist Alefs says she and her husband were not ready to sell at the time.

“We were having a lot of fun and into the heart of it all.”

She says she hasn’t fully processed that they’ve sold the business and is kind of numb about it, especially after doing a final inventory on Sunday night and leaving the building for the last time as owners on Monday morning.

“That was a strange feeling.”

Rhoads says he likes that the store is close to Tulsa and is a similar market.

He owns Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Tulsa and two dealerships in Minneapolis, Twin Cities Harley-Davidson and Twin Cities Harley-Davidson North.

The 60,000-square-foot former Alefs building will be the largest he owns in terms of size.

His Tulsa store is about 50,000 square feet, and the Minneapolis stores are just under that.

Those two stores are similar in retail volume to Alefs, but Rhoads says none of those stores is close to his Tulsa store.

“Tulsa’s in the top 20 volume dealers in the world.”

Rhoads is making a few changes along with the new Twister City name.

He says he’s going to add employees in an effort to cut wait times for customers needing repairs. The store already has about 50 employees.

“We’ll probably be adding 30 jobs pretty quickly.”

Rhoads also is adding Harley-Davidson inventory on the bike side and in clothing and accessories.

“We’ve already got orders out.”

He says he wants to add more events, too, and increase marketing.

As of April, the store’s hours will expand. Currently the business is closed on Mondays and has limited hours on Sundays. Rhoads says Twister City will be open seven days a week and likely will expand Sunday hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “to be a little more convenient.”

“We’re just happy to be here and happy to operate it,” he says.

Feist Alefs says she and her husband originally planned to own the business only 10 years. Dan Alefs wanted to be able to retire in his early 60s.

“We seem to have a 10-year itch,” Feist Alefs says.

They’ve long considered buying a second home in Arizona.

“We just finally talked ourselves into doing that.”

She says there’s a chance her husband and their son, Jacob, may do some sort of business once Jacob is out of the Marines.

Feist Alefs says they love guns and hunting and cars and racing, but a potential business wouldn’t necessarily revolve around any of those.

“We have no idea.”

She knows a couple of things they’re going to do now, though.

“We know we’re going to play for a couple of years.”

That includes riding motorcycles.

“We have not been able to enjoy motorcycles like we’d like to,” Feist Alefs says. “Unfortunately, in the motorcycle business, when the weather is good, you’re the busiest.”

She says that “it’s been a joy,” though.

“Every time someone buys a Harley, it’s just a cool deal. … It’s just an overwhelming, warm feeling to make their dream come true.”

She says people have always stopped in the store after trips to share details.

“They tell us all these cool little areas that they just came from on their bike throughout America, and now it’s our turn.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers